A Spokane inmate escaped custody for a short time Friday.
Jeffrey F. Matlock, 33, escaped Department of Corrections custody about 9:30 a.m. while he was being transported from Geiger Corrections to the Spokane County Courthouse. Matlock pushed down a corrections officer, who was injured slightly, then ran east, wearing a black-and-white shirt and pants, and handcuffs attached to a belly chain.
The officer gave chase, but lost Matlock near the public defender’s office, according to a Geiger Corrections Center press release.
A passer-by spotted Matlock jumping a fence behind the Kaufer Co., a Christian gift and bookstore on Boone Avenue. Officers found Matlock about 11 a.m., hiding in a small trailer beyond the fence. He had a tire iron with him but officers said he did not threaten them when ordered out of the trailer at gunpoint.
“He knew he was caught,” said Spokane police Officer Sean Wheeler.
During his brief freedom, Matlock had stripped to the waist and took off the handcuffs and belly chain using wire he found and fashioned into a key, Wheeler said. Police found the clothing and handcuffs on the rooftop adjacent to the bookstore, where Matlock had temporarily hid.
Shelley Hengesh, whose office is directly south of Kaufer’s, heard someone walking on the roof of her real estate business, Custom Closing and Escrow.
Hengesh said she feels lucky Matlock didn’t come inside her business.
Matlock has a lengthy criminal history including drug and gun charges, according to Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe. He was being held on $175,000 bond for second-degree assault, possession of a controlled substance and third-degree driving without privilege.
He was on his way to court Friday.